The growing season has been good with total rainfall generally exceeding 1,200mm about the district. There was only the one very heavy rain period which was towards the end of March. The rest of the falls were around plenty of sunshine and made for good growth.
The annual AgriServe Field Day was held 19th April. This was later than usual but the weather was in favour. The release of four new varieties Q242®, Q244®, Q246® and Q249® was announced. Growers were able to take bus tours of the farm and view these varieties. The smart setts tissue culture cane was on display along with a planter which makes the process look easy. There were variety displays of new soya bean and peanut varieties. On the subject of plant diseases, the issue of pachymetra appears to be on the increase. Best management practices are choosing resistant varieties and not planting varieties back to back.
Due to heavy rain in March the ASA information meetings were postponed until the 9th May. It is evident that some of the rollout is happening from the changes at BSES.
CRSG, the Central Region Sugar Group has a meeting after being in recess for some time. These groups were formed about 10 years ago to identify industry issues closer and more specific to regional areas.
Mackay Sugar Mills are to have a staggered start to the harvest in late May and early June. The estimate is about 5.5 million tons of cane and looks promising after the past couple of years. Due to the good conditions there is a lot of planting currently taking place. There is a concern that the CCS rises too high in Q208 by August and effects germination. Q208 been the main variety planted recently.
ACFA sponsored three growers to go to the GIVE conference at Yamba in March. These people enjoyed the opportunity and it is pleasing to see many younger people interested in the industry.
There was concern that there was an outbreak of Orange Rust on again, noticeably in Q208. Upon clarification it was identified that it was found in the lower leaf section. The important growing points were clear, which reinforces that planting good clean resistant varieties is the way forward.